Our Long-Standing Commitment to AIS Prevention


A Commitment that Started in the Early 1990s

The Vermilion Lake Association made a commitment in the early 1990s to make a stand against this threat. In 1992, several club members attended a meeting at Breezy Point Resort (Brainerd MN) entitled “Exotics in Minnesota: The Inland Invasion.” The fight was on.

Frequent newsletter articles followed, explaining the problem and urging residents and seasonal cabin owners alike to always trailer a clean boat and to inspect both carefully before launching at Lake Vermilion or any other lake.

In the May 1995 issue of our newsletter, The Vermilion Sportsman, Jack Sparks wrote an article on the Rusty Crayfish. He surmised the “Rusty” had already been in the lake for approximately 10 years, beginning in the mid-1980s. In our May 2002 newsletter, Joe Geis, DNR representative at the Tower office, advised that curly-leaf pondweed had been spotted around the Everett Bay public boat ramp, no doubt brought in by a boat or trailer. Today, all of our newsletters have some information or reminders concerning “invasive species,” the more modern term for what used to be called “exotics” or “exotic species.”

Each year since 2005, trained Vermilion Lake Association volunteers have staffed boat ramps, checking boats and discussing this threat with our incoming guests. Keeping the public focused on the problem is the primary method our club has to prevent the further spread of invasive species.

In 2007, the Vermilion Lake Association further expanded its public education efforts. The club partnered with the Minnesota DNR and the Lake Vermilion Resort Association to run a large billboard advertisement with the “Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers” theme along Highway 169 on the way to Tower. At our request, local Ely radio station WELY aired invasive species prevention announcements by Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire during every Twins game broadcast. Also in 2007, we began contacting fishing tournament directors, asking for their cooperation in having their competitors come to the lake with clean boats and trailers.

A Commitment that Remains Strong Today

The Vermilion Lake Association is committed to doing everything it can to protect the Lake Vermilion fishery and business community by preventing all new AIS and non-AIS stressors and rolling back those already present.

With the AIS threat to Lake Vermilion continuing to grow, our Lake Vermilion AIS Prevention Plan — now a plan with a more formal title — must also expand beyond the resources we can muster as an individual lake association. To build a strong team to assure success, our lake association commits to:

  • Work closely with nearby lake associations, SWCDs, local government units, and lake businesses and organizations to share ideas and form partnerships to improve efficiency and effectiveness,
  • Seek donations and grants from our members and from state-wide and local government agencies,
  • Share our knowledge and prevention methods with others at the local, regional and state levels and learn from those folks to bring “best practices” back to Lake Vermilion.

Your Financial Support or In-Kind Donation Can Make a Difference

If you or your organization would consider supporting the Lake Vermilion AIS Prevention Plan work financially or through an in-kind donation of products or services, please contact VLA Treasurer Mark Schmidt at 612-810-4570 or bigwalleye55@gmail.com or any other board member.

A Great Volunteer Opportunity

If you’d like to give us a hand as a volunteer, please contact VLA Volunteer Coordinator Andrine Lemieux at 218-979-7893 or lemieux.andrine@gmail.com.